After a promising start with her two hopefuls, J Rome and John Glosson, expectations were high for Jennifer Nettles going into the second week of competition for ‘Duets.’ Did country music’s sole celebrity mentor tackle some of America’s greatest duets with the same energy and charisma? Considering her tied first place finish with J Rome and a fourth place finish with Glosson, Sugarland‘s leading lady is still the mentor to beat. 

Just before Nettles and Glosson took the stage to perform the 1967 Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell original ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ the Georgia native professed her bias for her hometown protege. “I think John Glosson did a fantastic job — he was the top voice of the night,” referring to last week’s performance of Sugarland’s monster ballad ‘Stay.’ “The voting was not as accurate as it should have been.”

What does she feel influenced Glosson’s sub-par standing? “This is a competition,” says Nettles. “Never underestimate the insecurity or ego of an artist,” speaking indirectly about the judge’s voting against their own contestant’s competition.

Even with Glosson’s soaring vocals, the peformance earned mixed reviews from remaining judges Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Robin Thicke.

“You are one of the best singers in this competition,” admitted Legend. ” My only complaint is the energy of the song — took it broadway-ish to me.” Thicke’s assessment echoed much of the same thoughts. “We all know you have an amazing voice — Marvin Gaye is one of my favorite singer of all time. I think it was the wrong song. “All I would say is — I think you jumped out of your comfort zone, physically.”

Though Clarkson felt similarly, the bubbly singer praised Glosson’s pure talent. “I love that ya’ll did something different. I love that you had a great time,” said the ‘Mr. Know It All’ singer. “I think you’re so talented. You’re going to go far in this competition.”

Following her first high-energy performance, Nettles kept things upbeat, choosing to perform the 1978 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John classic, ‘You’re the One That I Want,’ from the ‘Grease’ original soundtrack. Wearing rather appropriate tight black leather pants, Nettles and J Rome tackled the tune with a polished swag.

Despite questioning Nettles choice of material, Legend was quick to praise the performance. “Song choice — it didn’t show off your voice very much, but you were an awesome performer today. It was incredible,” said the ‘Ordinary People’ singer.

“You get a 10 for presense and a 10 for your pelvic thrusting,” confessed Thicke, a self-proclaimed specialistic in that department. “I think you have nothing to worry about. You have a good chance to win the whole thing.”

When it comes to competing against his fellow amateurs, J Rome acknowledged he doesn’t feel any added pressure — and for good reason. “I’m proud. They’re getting better and better. It makes me happy,” gushed J Rome. “I feel like — no disrespect to the competition — I don’t feel like this is a competition. I am my own competition.”

“I trust Jennifer 100 percent,” confided the competition frontrunner. “To have someone like Jennifer say she believes in me — especially having so many people tell me you’re not going to make it –it’s an amazing, amazing feeling.”

None of the eight hopefuls will be sent home this week. Beginning in next week’s episode, the bottom two singers will compete in a head-to-head sing-off, with one sent home after a viewer vote. ‘Duets’ will be televised live beginning in week 6 of competition. Tune in to ABC next Thursday for a brand new two-hour episode.